Bank Top Harriers 12, Queensbury 16
Queensbury squeezed into the second round of the Jack Senior Memorial Bradford Cup thanks to a hard-fought 16-12 win at Bank Top Harriers.
Bank Top came into the game facing a deepening injury crisis and a comfortable win looked on the cards for the visitors. But the Harriers set out with a real determination which it took time for Queensbury to get to grips with.
They struggled in the opening ten minutes to control the ball and complete their sets, which gave Bank Top the chance to go on the offensive.
Queensbury eventually settled down though, with their powerful pack regularly gaining valuable yards down the middle and putting the home side on the back foot.
It came as no surprise when Joe Walker made an excellent break before providing a neat offload to the supporting Andrew Walker, who dived over to score. Josh Naylor stepped up to add the extras to earn a 6-0 lead.
The strong-running ’Bury pack continued to cause problems for their hosts and further defensive pressure saw a ball-carrier spill possession, which allowed Leighton Ruff to pick up and race clear to score.
The conversion was unsuccessful but the visitors, who play a division below Bank Top in the Pennine league, were beginning to dominate.
Bank Top continued to battle hard, with the influential Adam Mitchell marshalling the troops, but it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the home side.
Queensbury were on a roll and only some big Harriers defence kept out Lee Kelley, Andy Senior and then Walker as they were all held up just short.
The Bank Top rearguard did eventually crack under continued offensive pressure when Dan Hawksworth crashed over for ’Bury’s third try. Naylor again converted to make it 16-0 at the interval.
The Harriers then mounted a fine comeback as they came out and gave it a real go in the second half.
Mitchell was pulling the strings and his side were rewarded when Cam Nelson crossed out wide to put them on the scoreboard. Mitchell reduced the deficit to 16-6 with a touchline kick at goal.
The fightback continued when, minutes later, hooker James Banks dived over and Mitchell again hit the target to narrow the gap to four points. But that was as close as it got as Queensbury advanced.